Dealing with friends who are non-veg... - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-04-2019, 12:06 PM
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Dealing with friends who are non-veg...

I've been veg for several years. In that time, I've had two or three friends go vegetarian or vegan I would say at least partly due to my lifestyle changes/knowing my reasoning for eschewing animal products. I've also gotten my partner to go vegan. While I am happy I've impacted a few people, even still, some of my closest friends are meat-eaters. It used to not bother me so much as a vegetarian, but as I became more aware of the detrimental effects of factory farming and animal agriculture and became vegan, it has been really getting to me especially as of late.

For example, I have a friend that has made a lot of changes to be more environmentally conscious -- I talk to her about new eco-friendly products I find, we both use reusable bags and straws, etc., but yet, she still eats animal products. She's cut down her meat consumption a lot, and tries out new vegan recipes I show her which I feel like is a lot of positive progress that others aren't doing, yet she also complains about not being able to lose weight and the planet dying and it's almost like she doesn't take the option of going completely veg seriously. Many of my other friends are in the same boat -- aware of climate change, want to be healthier, "cares" about animal welfare, but won't change! What gives? I'm sure many others have the same issue and I'm trying to be patient but I've found that I want to be around them less. I don't want to sound dramatic, but on a level it really is affecting my friendships.

Tl;dr: How do you all balance being an advocate and still being a decent friend to those who apparently don't share the same values?
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#2 Old 09-05-2019, 04:27 PM
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I share the same experience. There are only 2 of us in our circle that are vegans. The rest are meat eaters and until now we are still trying to convert them, we've been doing it for more than a year already. We are doing it gradually and they are having small progress. But we believe that they will eventually go vegan. We're not giving up on them. So, my advice for you is you continue to preach and convince them to go vegan but do it in a manner that you will not sound desperate. Also, please don't stop being friends with them that's just not the way it should be. When the time comes that you feel like giving up, tell them how you feel and that despite everything you still accept them for who they are, you've done your part and it's up to them if they will follow you or not.
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#3 Old 09-11-2019, 04:49 PM
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Is it her eating animals that is upsetting, or her being a hypocrite? It upsets me when people I love are hypocritical or apathetic (or worse, adversarial/hostile) about the things I really care about. Those are not people I want to spend time with. There's no use in taking it upon yourself to be a "decent friend" to people like that.

Friendships do change over time, for many reasons. Maybe this is only part of it. But before you let them fade out, maybe give them another opportunity to learn about why these issues are important to you. Ask them to watch a documentary with you like Cowspiracy or Earthlings. And maybe you have to explain that for your own mental health you can't be around them while they're eating meat these days. If they want to go out to brunch - cool, pick a vegan place. If they invite you to a backyard BBQ, though, you might have to skip it.
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#4 Old 09-12-2019, 06:42 AM
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I have been vegan for decades. The one thing I have learned is not to try and convince others to change. It is best to lead by example. I have had friends for over 20 years who know I am vegan and most try to have something for me to eat at get togethers, but they will not change and do not want to. Just because you are enlightened, you cannot change others in how they think or were raised. It's their life. Would you want a Christian (or other) friend always trying to convert you to their religious way of thinking? I think not, and if you don't believe, you never will.

Most of the animal lovers I know are not vegetarian or vegan, but absolutely love animals and volunteer at animal shelters, etc., yet they eat animals and do not even think about that. If they were truly animals lovers, wouldn't they go vegan to save and protect all animals? I want to tell them that if you really loved animals, then why do you eat them? But I keep my mouth shut because people can justify anything and it's not worth getting into an argument over. I just hope one day as they pick up a turkey leg to bite into one Thanksgiving day, they will become enlightened how much of a hypocrite they are and that they are eating an animal and the light bulb turns on for them.

If you are always after friends to change to your way of thinking in terms of eating, etc. you will soon have no more friends or very few. People don't want to feel guilty eating around you and will soon stop inviting you places. Will it make them change their way of eating? Probably not. Some people are just fine eating what they want to eat and may never change. But if you are their shining example (without saying a word), they know they can ask you questions if they want to learn and know. Believe me in the decades of being vegan not one single friend has ever asked me a single thing about my diet, except for the standard, "where do you get your protein or calcium?"? Which inside makes me want to scream!!!

Veganism is a food choice just like some people will choose to not eat red meat, but will eat other kind. Or some people might only eat organic and grass fed meat and non factory farmed. You really don't know if they are at taking that step in their meat eating choices, do you? So live your vegan life and enjoy yourself and stop worrying about what others do or don't do because it's out of your control and if you drive yourself crazy about this, how can you enjoy your own life?
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